From Brando to Johnny Depp, everyone loves a bad boy — and who’s badder than a rock star?
With these style tips, you’ll pass muster in the office while letting the world know you were born to be wild. Keep in mind, though, there are a few general guidelines when it comes to rock ’n’ roll style:
- The more broken-in the item, the more authentic it appears
- Forget oversize fashion, and opt for a fit smaller than you’d normally wear
- Don’t don it all at once, unless you want to be mistaken for The Food Network’s Guy Fieri
Good style is essentially about pairing traditional elements in a way that feels fresh. One way to mix it up: Take a casual item and add it to an otherwise dressy outfit — like adding a biker jacket to your normal office attire. Not in place of a blazer, mind you, but as outerwear with edge. Nothing says “I’ve got a life outside the office” more than mixing a classic leather biker jacket with your khakis, oxford and tie. And since not everyone can pull off the belted biker jacket without appearing like a West Side Story cast member, opt for simplicity with fewer snaps and pockets. Begin by checking out the classic version from Schott (Classic Perfecto Leather Motorcycle Jacket, $520). My favorite is the pre-broken-in version (the Authentic Motorcycle Jacket, $2,300), available online from Jean Shop in New York City.
There’s no shortage of denim options, and it’s impossible to rock without it. Those in the know, though, go for selvage, or raw, denim, the increasingly popular premium made from the edges of the fabric spool. Perhaps the greatest proponent is A.P.C., which can be thought of as a French Gap (check out its New Standard Jeans, $165). All-American J.Crew just launched its raw-denim line (484 Slim-fit Jean, $225) with an experiment: Employees wore the jeans for six months straight without washing them in order to create a custom look for each wearer. Purists claim it’s the only way to get the right look, and if you can commit, you’ll see why a real blue-jean baby wouldn’t have it any other way.
A thick leather wristband sends a few messages that a Timex doesn’t — first, that you don’t need to know what time it is, and second, that you’re keeping up the long tradition of the outsider antihero (even if your version cost 75 bucks from a boutique in L.A.). The key to incorporating this into your look is to keep it casual. If you’re wearing a dress shirt, keep it untucked with the cuffs unbuttoned. Remember: The emblems of individuality work only when the whole outfit feels synced.
The most inexpensive item on our list may also be the most practical. A broken-in, bleached-out bandanna knotted around the neck can catch the sweat on a warm day, but it’s also the ultimate antifashion fashion statement. It’s rough and classic yet a casual embellishment that few dudes off a construction site are man enough to attempt. It’s versatile enough to be worn Axl Rose–style, keeping your hair off your face, or like a headband knotted in the back. The rule here is just not to wear more than one at a time; else you’ll be mistaken for a boy-bander.
Michael Rovner a former staffer at Women’s Wear Daily, has covered fashion for The New York Times Magazine and The New York Post and has written for Vogue, Esquire and Details.